Wednesday 10 February 2010

Site in Ballydoyle dispute fails to sell

A SIGNIFICANT agricultural property in the heart of Tipperary’s racehorse country failed to sell at auction yesterday.

The 91-acre site at Castleblake, near Rosegreen village, is close to the Ballydoyle racing stables and a few kilometres from the country’s leading stud farm, Coolmore.

The lot included “top-class” land, a “substantial” range of buildings and machinery and a licensed but currently unused rendering plant. However, the auction produced only a single bid of €500,000, which was declined and the property withdrawn. The auctioneer told The Irish Times that “two machines alone” on the land were worth €600,000.

The auction, at the premises of PF Quirke & Co in Clonmel, had generated significant interest as it was expected to provide an indication of the current state of the property market and a guide to land values.

Auctioneer Patrick Quirke’s request for an opening bid of €4 million was met by stony silence. He then dropped the price twice by increments of half-a-million but still failed to elicit any interest. Having failed to attract a bid at €3 million, he proposed to withdraw the property and wondered if the attendees hadn’t “just come for a day out”.

At that point he received a bid of €500,000 from Dominic Daly, a “property consultant, auctioneer and valuer” in Cork who was “acting on behalf of a client”. The five-minute auction then ended without a sale and Mr Daly was invited to attend private negotiations. The vendors, a business consortium which includes the well-known Ronan family, had hoped to build an animal waste processing facility on the site to generate “green” electricity.

Objections were raised by Coolmore and Ballydoyle with trainer Aidan O’Brien claiming the proposed development would have “ruined all the land in terms of raising horses”. After a public hearing in 2008, An Bord Pleanála rejected the proposal.

Local people had expected Coolmore’s billionaire owner, John Magnier, to buy the land.

However, the auctioneer said “he didn’t view it but his agents could have”.

Irish Times

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